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Government Accelerates Efforts To Support Disabled Peoples Vaccination Experiences

Hon Carmel Sepuloni

Minister for Disability Issues

· Launch of ‘The Manaakitanga Journey’ tool to help disabled people get vaccinated against COVID-19

· A one-stop shop online containing COVID-19 information, with accessible format considerations, and locations of Super Accessible Vaccination sites.

A new tool that supports disabled people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was launched today as the country gets closer to reaching the 90 percent vaccination milestone, Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced.

The Manaakitanga Journey is a graphic online tool that packages up key information on the Unite Against COVID-19 website such as how to book New Zealand Sign Language interpreters at clinics, and how to arrange transport to and from your vaccination appointment.

“Getting a vaccination is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your community – and we want all New Zealanders to have the right support to get the job done,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“That’s why we’ve been working with the disability sector and community, Office for Disability Issues, the Ministry of Health and DHBs to develop services and information that ensures disabled people are aware of their eligibility in the vaccine programme.

“Deciding whether to be vaccinated, finding the most appropriate site and place to be vaccinated at and who to contact if you need transport, are all key parts of the journey that can often affect disabled people’s experiences. This makes that process easier,”

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One in four New Zealanders identify as disabled or having an impairment. As of the 27th of October, of the 30,522 people supported by the Ministry of Health’s Disability Supports Services nationwide, 82 percent have had their first dose, and 67 percent have been fully vaccinated.

“The vaccination programme aims to be inclusive and accessible to all New Zealanders so that all people have the opportunity and access to a vaccination site. DHBs and local providers are really committed to getting it right for disabled people to ensure they can access the vaccine in a way that meets their needs in their local area.

“We’re continuing that momentum with the launch of a disability-specific part of the Unite Against COVID-19 website, which will be updated weekly with Super Accessible sites and centres for disabled people to get vaccinated at across the motu.

The Unite Against COVID-19 website will also contain consolidated information specifically for disabled people and those who have underlying health conditions, such as supported decision making, a list of accessible vaccination centres near you, arranging transport and information in alternative formats.

“I believe The Manaakitanga Journey captures the essence and importance of removing barriers to vaccination for disabled people, making it more accessible and inclusive, and as we continue to protect and look out for all New Zealanders,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit the Hutt Valley COVID-19 Community Vaccination Centre at 1:30pm today, to support their work as a super accessible clinic for disabled New Zealanders.


Editors Notes:

· The Manaakitanga Journey way-finding tool

· Support and Information for disabled people

· You can also call the COVID Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 and ‘push 2’ to speak to the disability team between 8 am-8 pm Monday to Friday or email accessiblecovidvaccinations@whakarongorau.nz

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